If we had to pick just one buzzword to represent the driving force in our culture during the past decade or so, I think the word “diversity” would have to be a serious contender. Check the websites of corporations, schools, or non-profits. Odds are, you’ll find the word “diversity” very prominently displayed. Today, hiring, college admissions, and curriculum development all hinge on the promotion of diversity. Those who produce ads and brochures are extremely purposeful in the inclusion of images that reflect diversity.
No one excels any better in the creation and support of diversity in the most positive sense of the term than the God of the Bible does. God doesn’t just tolerate diversity. He absolutely relishes it!
From the beginning, God didn’t create a monochrome world. He didn’t design man to see only in grayscale. From the foundation of the world, God created a wondrous display of variety in plant and animal life. Creation continually parades out a carnival of colors and textures, to God’s boundless delight and for mankind’s immense enjoyment.
The “Planet Earth” series produced by the BBC a few years ago was a tremendous hit, and rightly so. Viewers sat spellbound by the diversity and complexity of terrain, plant life, and living creatures.
From fiery red Royal Poinciana to tropical fish and exotic birds we observe the extreme joy that God finds in variety and differences. Genesis 1:31 says that at the end of creation, “God saw all that he had made – and it was very good!”
God and Human Diversity
The apex of God’s creation is mankind. We who hold to a historical-grammatical-contextual interpretation of the Bible believe that God indeed began the human race with the creation of one man and one woman—Adam and Eve. From them would come all generations of humans.
God’s limitless intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, and power are demonstrated in the genetic information that He encoded in the first man and woman. Within that genetic coding, God wrote the biological language that would facilitate and produce the wide diversity of human offspring that we see today.
In the past, before we gained a fundamental understanding of genetics, some people set forth ridiculous hypotheses regarding the origins of people of various skin colors, eye colors, and hair textures. But the information for all of these genetic variations was created and implanted in the first man and woman on purpose by a God who loves variety!
It only remained for people to migrate and to reproduce within a limited, locally available population for the dominant and recessive genetic traits of that particular group to generate a tribe, a people, or an ethnicity with distinguishing physical characteristics.
As diverse human beings, made in the image of God, we are all dearly and equally loved by our magnificent, wise Creator!
Jesus Christ and Human Diversity
Each human being is born into a specific historical, geographic, and ethnic context. So was Jesus. While God sent His Son to be born into a Jewish context, Jesus’ saving work was never to be limited to one ethnicity. Jesus’ salvation is for all mankind. It started with “the Jew first” (Romans 1:16), but it is for anyone who believes, from every ethnicity.
Probably the most famous verse in the New Testament—John 3:16—says, “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (NASB)”
The early Christian church is a beautiful example of God’s love of diversity. Acts 2:9-11 indicates that people from Parthia, Media, Elam, Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, Rome, Crete, and Arabia were all invited to accept Jesus Christ. Acts 2:41 states that about 3,000 people out of that polyglot group did.
Acts 8:26-38 tells the account of an Ethiopian nobleman who embraced Jesus Christ as Savior and apparently returned to his home country with his newfound faith.
Acts 13:1 tells us that the leadership of the very early church at Antioch, Syria, included Africans and Southwest Asians. St. Thomas Christians in India today trace their religious roots to Jesus’ apostle Thomas who brought the message of life in Christ as far east as India in the first century.
The ultimate testimony of Jesus Christ’s love for people of every ethnicity comes in the final book of the Bible. In a vision of the glorious splendor of the heavenly throne room of God, the apostle John records praise given to Jesus by heaven’s inhabitants. They joyfully shout to Him,
“You are worthy … because you were killed, and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
God’s creation began with wonderful diversity. The culmination of God’s plan for mankind is the joint rule of people from every ethnicity, unified by faith in Jesus Christ—the One who saves forever!
That’s something worth believing in!